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NWP Visiting Faculty Members Receive Major Honors

Two recent NWP Distinguished Visiting Faculty members have received major literary honors for new book publications.

Former Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Sigrid Nunez won the 2018 National Book Award in November for her book The Friend.

Named a best book of the year by The New York Times, NPR, The New Yorker, The Financial Times, The Paris Review, BuzzFeed, LitHub, Town and Country, and elsewhere, the book (a novel) documents the relationship between a writer and a dog she adopts after her friend, a famous writer, commits suicide.

Described as a portrait of the “exhaustion of mourning” by The New Yorker, Nunez’s book has been called “a penetrating, moving meditation on loss, comfort, memory, what it means to be a writer today, and various forms of love and friendship.”

This fall, former Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor Kiese Laymon received the Chicago Public Library’s Best Book of the Year Award for his memoir Heavy.

The book has also been named a best book of the year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed, Library Journal, The Washington Post, Southern Living, and Entertainment Weekly.

The New York Times called the book “gutting and gorgeous.”